Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence Geotechnical Science and Engineering


  1. UWA node recruiting 2 Postdoctoral Research Associates/Research Fellows

    The Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems (COFS) is the largest research group in the world focusing on offshore geotechnical engineering. The group has 30 academics, 25 administrative and technical staff, 44 PhD students and hosts world-class experimental facilities, including 2 geotechnical centrifuges. COFS is one of the three nodes of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre for Excellence in Geotechnical Science and Engineering (CGSE).

    Applications are invited for two positions within Professor Mark Cassidy’s Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Fellowship “New Frontiers in Offshore Geotechnics: Securing Australia’s Energy Future” which aims to advance Australia’s geotechnical testing capabilities and pioneer scientific approaches to predict the risk of offshore foundation, anchor, pipe and platform failures.

    Position 1 (FLPDRA Offshore Foundations) will develop research capabilities in the areas of field and/or centrifuge testing of anchors and/or risers.

    Position 2 (FLPDRA Georisk) will undertake research in the area of geotechnical risk analysis, probability and stochastic modelling.

    Further information and position descriptions can be found here.

  2. UWA node recruiting for Research Fellow / Research Associate

    The Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems (COFS) at The University of Western Australia is the largest research group in the world focusing on offshore geotechnical engineering. The group has 30 academics, 25 administrative and technical staff, 44 PhD students and hosts world-class experimental facilities, including 2 geotechnical centrifuges.

    COFS is one of the three nodes of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre for Excellence in Geotechnical Science and Engineering (CGSE) and is offering a post-doctoral position in geotechnical engineering to work on an ARC Discovery Project in collaboration with The University of Newcastle. The project involves centrifuge, numerical and analytical modelling to investigate the behaviour of foundations in sand for offshore renewable energy structures under multidirectional cyclic loadings.

    The position description and selection criteria can be found here.


  3. PhD Scholarship Available at Newcastle Node

    A PhD Scholarship exists for the computational modelling, simulation and analysis of hydraulic fracturing in Australian coal seam geology. This multiphysics research program will develop a variational approach to fracture mechanics, as well as associated numerical solution algorithms, to simulate three-dimensional hydraulic fracture involving complex systems of cracks in porous geomaterials.

    See the flyer for more information.

  4. CGSE researchers recognised in UWA ECR Best Publication Awards

    Dr Wenhua Zhao and Dr Shiaohuey Chow have been recognised in the UWA Early Career Researcher Best Publication Awards. The awards are designed to acknowledge outstanding research accomplishments by Early Careers Researchers.

    Dr Wenhua Zhao was awarded a Best Publication Award for his paper ‘Predication of hydrodynamic performance of an FLNG system in side-by-side offloading operation’. Published in the Journal of Fluids and Structures, the paper presents a comprehensive study on the hydrodynamics of an FLNG system with a focus on the nonlinear coupling effects of vessels and connection systems based on the concept FLNG prototype recently designed for South China Sea. Dr Zhao’s paper can be accessed at doi 10.1016/j.jfluidstructs.2013.11.021.

    Dr Shiaohuey Chow received a special commendation for her paper ‘Soil strength estimation and pore pressure dissipation for free-fall piezocone in soft clay’, published in Géotechnique. Dr Chow’s paper proposes an improved interpretation of free-fall piezocones (FFP) to estimate the soil undrained shear strength and coefficient of consolidation, derived from the first centrifuge modelling of FFPs in soft clay. The full paper can be accessed at doi 10.1680/geot.14.P.107.

    For further information, please contact, +61 8 6488 3122, +61 6488 6930

  5. Embankment Prediction Symposium

    Call for Expressions of Interest by June 2015

    The CGSE invites practising engineers and academics to make and submit predictions of the performance of an embankment constructed using prefabricated vertical drains on soft clay and/or the load-displacement response of a shallow foundation loaded to failure on soft clay.

    Field observations and the time history of the embankment behaviour, as well as the various predictions of that behaviour will be presented and discussed in a special Prediction Symposium to be held in Newcastle, Australia, on 9 and 10 of September 2016.

    More information on the symposium is available here.

  6. Short Course on 2D/3D Slope Stability Analysis by Dr Murray Fredlund

    The ARC Centre of Excellence for Geotechnical Science and Engineering is pleased announce that the two-day short course on 2D/3D slope stability analysis by Dr Murray Fredlund will go ahead as planned on 16-17 February 2015 at The University of Newcastle.

    For full details and registration information, please refer to the flyer.

    The link directly to the online shop for enrollment is as follows:

    Enrol in Short Course

  7. Professor Susan Gourvenec awarded a Vice-Chancellor’s Mid-Career Research Award

    Professor Susan Gourvenec was awarded one of the UWA Vice-Chancellor’s Mid-Career Research Awards for distinguished achievement in research in the engineering field. The award was presented by UWA Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Johnson and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Professor Robyn Owens at a ceremony celebrating ‘Research Week’.

    Susan has established her research career at the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems (COFS) since joining UWA in 2001. Her research focusses on seabed engineering with particular interests in optimization of foundations for floating facilities and subsea infrastructure.  Her research has led to awards from the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, the Australian and New Zealand Geomechanics Society, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Canadian Geotechnical Society. Outcomes from Susan’s research have been applied in engineering practice in Australia and overseas and are referenced in international design guidelines. Susan’s research findings are disseminated to undergraduates, postgraduates and industry personnel through her co-ordination and delivery of specialist courses in offshore geotechnics and co-authored text book with Mark Randolph ’Offshore Geotechnical Engineering’. Susan also writes for The Conversation.

    The CGSE would like to congratulate Susan on her award and thank her for her contributions to the Centre.

    Media enquiries: +61 6488 3995

    Prof Susan Gourvenec (centre) pictured with other award winners Assoc/Prof Michael Giudici, Prof Herbert Iu, Prof Ryan Lowe and Assoc/Prof Robert McLaughlin

    Prof Susan Gourvenec (centre) pictured with other award winners Assoc/Prof Michael Giudici, Prof Herbert Iu, Prof Ryan Lowe and Assoc/Prof Robert McLaughlin



  8. Fugro Increases Investment by Funding a Chair in Geotechnics at UWA

    Prof Robyn Owens (UWA), Dr Phil Watson (Fugro) and Mr Peter Burger (Fugro)

    Prof Robyn Owens (UWA), Dr Phil Watson (Fugro) and Mr Peter Burger (Fugro)

    The Fugro Chair in Geotechnics aims to develop a sustainable research group, to address key questions related to design and performance within the field of offshore geotechnics, reducing risk and enhancing engineering design within the offshore sector.

    The agreement, which also provides funding for three PhD scholarships, was signed by UWA Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Robyn Owens and Dr Phil Watson, Director of Fugro Advanced Geomechanics in Perth and Fugro’s Global Service Line Manager GeoConsulting.

    CGSE Deputy Director, Winthrop Professor Mark Cassidy said the partnership between Fugro and the Centre would help ensure research was targeted to solving real world problems.

    Dr Watson said the creation of the Fugro Chair in Geotechnics was fully aligned with Fugro’s strategic objective to further expand its global consultancy business.

    “This initiative combines the best consultants and researchers with the high quality earth data acquired by Fugro’s geotechnical and survey experts,” he said.

    The PhD scholarships aim to facilitate the growth of high quality graduates in offshore geotechnics and engineering, with selected students offered the opportunity to work with Fugro.


    Winthrop Professor Mark Cassidy, CGSE Deputy Director,  +61 (8) 6488 3732

  9. Double award from leading geotechnical journal for industry-relevant research

    Researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Geotechnical Science and Engineering (CGSE), were recognised through two awards presented last week at the annual meeting of the Canadian Geotechnical Society, in Regina Canada. CGSE-authored papers were given the RM Quigley Award for the best paper published in 2013 in the Canadian Geotechnical Journal, and an RM Quigley Honourable Mention as runner-up in this competition.

    The papers were lead-authored by University of Western Australia (UWA) PhD graduates, Zack Westgate and Divya Mana and co-authored by their supervisors Professors Mark Randolph, Susan Gourvenec and David White.

    As well as the academic recognition of these awards, the research has had impact in industry. Zack’s paper, entitled “Modelling the embedment process during pipe-laying on fine-grained soils” is one of 7 papers from his PhD, which has led to new methods for assessing the embedment behaviour of subsea pipelines that are used widely in industry. After graduating from UWA, Zack joined Perth firm, Advanced Geomechanics (now Fugro AG), and is currently based in Fugro’s Houston office.

    “I’m now enjoying the opportunity to transfer the knowledge from my PhD into the design practices used by Fugro on offshore pipeline projects in the US and worldwide” said Zack. His research is cited in the international standards that advise on subsea pipeline design, and has already been applied by Fugro AG on many projects across Australia and worldwide.

    Meanwhile, Divya’s paper, entitled “Experimental investigation of reverse end bearing of offshore shallow foundations” has led to design tools that are already being applied to assess potential anchoring systems for large floating oil and gas platforms offshore Australia. Her supervisor, Professor Susan Gourvenec said “Divya’s work focused on the need to develop efficient and reliable anchoring systems for tethered floating structures, which are one solution for accessing Australia’s remote gas fields. I’ve collaborated with Fugro AG to deploy Divya’s research in practice, sizing up foundation systems planned for offshore Australia”.

    Steve Neubecker, General Manager GeoConsulting at Fugro AG in Perth, said that their close interaction with The Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems (COFS) at UWA helps to transfer technology rapidly into engineering practice. “The research recognised by these awards has already been applied to projects in Australia and elsewhere, thanks to close collaboration between COFS and Fugro AG. As Australian projects move into deeper water with new types of floating structures and challenging pipeline conditions, novel geotechnical solutions are needed. Our partnership with the university allows us to develop these solutions drawing on the university’s academic strengths and our industry experience – leading to award-winning research and practical engineering solutions that are applicable both offshore Australia and worldwide.”

    Fugro AG supports COFS’ research as a Partner Investigator in the Australian Research Council Centre for Excellence in Geotechnical Science and Engineering, of which COFS is the Western Australian node.

  10. Research Fellow Position Available

    Research Fellow in Geotechnical Engineering

    • Fixed term (3 year) Appointment
    • Centre for Geomechanics & Railway Engineering

    The Centre for Geomechanics & Railway Engineering has an outstanding record of research achievements with a worldwide reputation. The Centre is part of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence in Geotechnics. It currently has over a dozen Research Academics and over 35 full-time PhD students supported by significant grants from the ARC, Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Rail Innovation, and other industry funding.

    The Centre is seeking for a high calibre candidate to work on a three-year geotechnical project under the auspices of the Australian Research Council involving the development of predictive models for soft clay behaviour under vacuum pressure with vertical drains. You will be able to plan and implement a field trial embankment, develop computational models incorporating complex soil-drain interface behaviour, and develop novel design principles and guidelines imperative for practising engineers.

    To apply for this position you will need to address the selection criteria as part of your application which is located within the position description on our Employment website.
    For further information regarding this position, please contact Professor Buddhima Indraratna on (61 2) 4221 3046.

    Application close: 30 October 2014

    Ref No: 25172—Research-Fellow/1462

    Salary: $75,708-$88,755